Azerbaijan has cautioned fellow members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) against using the pretext of human rights to engage in “direct interference” in the Azerbaijan justice system.
Elkhan Suleymanov, a member of the Azerbaijani delegation to PACE, issued the warning after a meeting of the PACE Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee in Paris, Wednesday, at which an information note covering Azerbaijan human rights was discussed.
That note, by the Rapporteur on Azerbaijan Pedro Agramunt, was critical of Azerbaijan but it did state that the issue of so-called political prisoners in Azerbaijan should be resolved in a legal context, and that these prisoners should have recourse to the European Court of Human Rights.
This, Suleymanov told the Committee, is something with which he agrees.
“I particularly stressed that the issue of political prisoners is a legal issue and should be resolved on a legal context rather than a political one,” he said.
But he added that despite consensus on this point there remain forces within PACE out to use this issue “in a deliberate and exaggerated way” to politically pressure Azerbaijan. This is evident in just the title of the information note: Azerbaijan’s Chairmanship of the Council of Europe: What follow-up on respect for human rights?
“Dear colleagues,” he asked in response. “Did any of 600 PACE members raise the issue of What follow-up on Armenia’s occupation of Azerbaijani territories? during Armenia’s Chairmanship of Council of Europe Committee of Ministers?”
Suleymanov warned PACE against making sweeping demands to release from custody those who are midway through criminal cases being heard by the Azerbaijani courts.
“Such kinds of demands call for the violation of a fair trial for those persons and (amount to) direct interference with the course of the investigation,” he cautioned.
Azerbaijan feels aggrieved that it is continually attacked by European politicians while Armenia turns its back on Europe (by joining the Russian-sponsored Eurasian Customs Union), yet still receives generous funding.
But of more concern to Suleymanov is that not only does Armenia escape the kind of scrutiny that Azerbaijan is now enduring, it is allowed to blithely ignore the international community year after year.
International bodies including the United Nations Security Council and the Council of Europe have called for Armenia to withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding territories, but it steadfastly refuses to do so.
SOURCE Azerbaijan Monitor